It’s all coming unwound, in a mad procession of shocking political ineptitude.
Since Ronald Reagan first turned our nation’s attention toward what was, in his view, the relentless excesses of big government, the GOP has won election after election harnessing and directing the rage of white conservative voters. But what’s coming next is the logical outcome of a forty year GOP strategy of attacking the federal institutions that govern us.
The challenge with this historically winning GOP strategy is that it has required candidates to ante up each election cycle with increasing levels of disdain toward our federal institutions.
Eventually, even their most articulate leaders have been forced to pass a mandatory litmus test of incendiary rhetoric. More moderate GOP voices have failed the test, unseated by Tea Party candidates like Ted Cruz. Accordingly, the Republican Party is now barreling down the road to dysfunctional extremist irrelevance with no brakes left to apply.
White conservative voters and difference
White conservative voters have a problem. To this day, they remain deeply alarmed by the wide ranging social, religious, sexual and gender diversity that is inherent to the human condition. The miraculously diverse nature of humanity can no more be constrained or limited than the falling of summer rain. That’s the glory of being human. It’s built into our DNA. And we’re lucky to have it.
Pity the poor white conservative American voters. They spend their lives pissed off by the fact that people are different. That said, rest assured, here in America, we’re not racists. Oh my, no. We’re nice people. We just want everybody else to be nice exactly like us.
And so, to assuage any lingering pangs of guilt, the Republican Party has for decades created powerful coded political messaging, setting aside the ugly barking of the Klu Klux Klan and other more radical hate groups. They have created language nice people can rely on to motivate and coalesce voters around issues of race, gender and sexuality. Language that lets them rage about big government, while in the darkness of their hearts what they really hate is something much more fundamental.
For decades, the GOP has talked about family values when what they really mean is that gay people should be brutalized. For decades they have talked about others being weak on crime when they really mean that black people should be incarcerated en mass. For decades they have raged against political correctness when what they really mean is that women should shut up and do what they’re told. And, of course, they have talked about the rest of us being weak on terrorism when what they really intend is that we should send our children to fight endless wars in foreign lands; wars that turn a tidy profit for the wealthiest here at home.
But now, thanks to Donald Trump, decades of carefully crafted coded language, designed to grant angry white voters a way to support institutional racism and sexism while speaking in the parlance of the Sunday morning news shows, is officially useless. Decades of work by highly paid conservative political consultants and pollsters is in the toilet. Ashes on the rhetorical wind.
Trump’s scorched earth race politics
The open and unashamed racist electioneering practiced by Trump has taken these decades of messaging and rendered them useless; messaging designed to slowly and carefully tiptoe up to the nasty razor’s edge of bigotry and then, at the last minute, duck back into plausible deniability.
“No, we’re not talking about denying opportunity to poor people, we’re talking about reverse discrimination.”
“No, we’re not talking about restricting birth control, we’re talking about religious freedom.”
The genius of Willie Horton ads, the wonder of the welfare mothers, and subtle nuance of family values, all of this hard work is shot to hell. All this lovingly crafted language is useless nowk because the dam has broken. We have seen the face of the monster clearly. We have seen candidate Donald Trump.
In order for coded language to work, you need plausible deniability. Once you openly attack people on the basis of race, religion or gender there is no ducking back into coded language.
The Republican Party’s political dialogues are now openly racist, violent and bigoted. Women’s bodies, world religions, entire cultures and races, all are to be attacked and denigrated. And this nasty brew of rage and hatred has spilled out onto the internet with unrestrained passion, permanently enshrined for all to see.
Thank you Donald Trump for bringing the Republican strategy of hate and division to its logical conclusion. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. Thank you for stating in no uncertain terms what we have always known. That hundred of millions of us are viewed by the GOP base as contemptible, as disposable, as subhuman.
Any future GOP issue or initiative, threaded with the coded language designed to subtly signal bigotry to the GOP base, will now instead conjure the hate speech of Donald Trump and the equally hateful speech of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and all the others who are desperate to match the blunt effectiveness of Trump’s terrifying grip on the Republican base.
The GOP is a racist party. This is no longer up for debate. There is no more sitting on the fence. No more compassionate conservatism. No more big tent of the GOP. The Republican Party’s focus-grouped plan to keep serving up candy coated bigotry in pithy little self satisfied bites is now officially dead.
The chaos that is the modern GOP
It is the decades of hate rhetoric on Fox News and AM Talk Radio that led the GOP to its logical end. The spewing of course condescending contempt for difference at every opportunity. The sewing of entitled white rage as the central tenant of our political discourse.
They had a good run, but every hate filled electoral victory required they ante up more rage and white victimhood for the next. They created their hate beast and set it loose on American politics and nothing Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes can do now will stop it. The beast is blind with rage, turning on its own handlers. They have bitten bloody the hand of the Koch Brothers and all their wealthy pals. This shit is completely out of control.
The Republican Party is fracturing. Each reactionary constituency refusing to give an inch, mimicking the overblown belligerency of their AM hate radio icons. Every group, babbling inane hocus pocus about the Constitution, each declaring themselves to be the freedom this and the freedom that, climbing over each other in a mad rush to claim millions in unregulated corporate money with which to savage each other further. Reactive Tea Party candidates, every one more entitled than the next, flog the GOP status quo while gun toting libertarians stare down professors in our universities and walk their AR-15s through race riots. It’s all coming unwound in a mad procession of shocking ineptitude.
Believe me, this is giving moderate and independent voters pause.
From now on, when people hear coded Republican messaging about welfare cheats or immigration policy, there will be no plausible deniability. Trump has seen to that. It will be the undoing of the Grand Old Party. The GOP’s political armageddon will come because no self respecting banker, doctor or lawyer who publicly professes to be color blind will be able to support the GOP without making their true politics painfully obvious. And although many in America are happy to openly hate difference, tens of millions more are finally going to have to go to the mirror and take a long hard look.
“If I pull that lever, I’m a bigot.”
I truly believe the majority of us want a rich and diverse world, not some choke-chained conformist suburban nightmare from the 1950’s. The stark choices we are now facing will give rise to our better angels. We will stop falling prey to subtle and devious messages that divide and isolate us. We will rise collectively for what we know to be right. A society that is robust, inclusive and diverse; every color, every creed, every kind of love. For us, for our children who will follow us, this is how we can become finally and fully alive.
We have reached the tipping point. We can never again dance around the question of race, religion, gender or sexuality in American politics. There is no convenient self deception left for us to take refuge behind, no coded hate candy to assuage our guilt. Those days are gone. The battle for our collective souls is here.
Donald Trump is a huge threat. We cannot take his candidacy lightly. He represents a future we should fear. But a healthy dose of fear is what we need to get organized and busy. The tattered mask of racial and sexual civility has been ripped off the GOP. We can now prove exactly what they represent, word for ugly word.
And we have Donald Trump to thank for it.
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